Thursday, February 26, 2009

Globalization through Netbook Development

Ethnography is a way to understand how and why to design the right products. -Intel, 2009

The growth of the global market is pushing innovation to almost limitless extents. The decline in the prices for micro-processing technology and an increased demand for solid state technologies has enabled computer manufacturers the ability to cut prices in desktop and laptop models. Now some of the typical laptop models made by companies like HP, Dell, or Toshiba can run in the $700 and higher range while netbooks, a term coined by Psion, run below that price range. Netbooks are a class of laptop that have a higher focus on wireless capabilities, internet usage, and mobility. Such netbooks evolved into further popularity because of programs like One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc (OLPC) who's goal was to develop low cost computing devices for educational use in developing countries. These programs have allowed for the creation of netbooks which price in the range of $100 to $500.

Intel has a particular initiative that has to deal with the concept of Ethnography. More specifically, Intel sought to develop ethnography with a focus “to design purpose-built solutions for education. Intel-powered classmate PC laptops are designed to meet the educational needs of students ages 5-14.” (Intel 2009) This drive for education technology and high emphasis on mobility lead Intel to develop the Classmate PC (by definition a netbook) that costs only $400 dollars and provided capabilities that out flank most other netbooks for the same or higher costs. This netbook is reflective of low cost solutions for connectivity without sacrificing productivity and capability.

What I particularly like about this netbook is the fact that it can be very useful for American students as well, especially the $500 tablet PC version. Some of the specs on this revolutionary computing device (tablet version) are as follows:

CPU: Intel® ATOM™ processor N270 1.6GHz Processor, Chipset: Intel® 945GSE, Formfactor: Clamshell / Tablet, Memory: 1GB / 512MB, Storage: 16GB / 8GB / 4GB Flash / or 1.8" HDD (60 GB), Operating Systems: Windows XP / Linux, Display: 8.9" 1024 x 600 Touch Screen, Network: 10/100M Ethernet / 802.11b/g/n WLAN, Mesh support (Linux only), Security: WPA, WPA-PSK, WPA2, WPA2-PSK, Keyboard: Water Resistant Keyboard, Battery Life: 6-cell battery (6 hours) 4-cell battery (4 hours), Audio: Integrated 2 channel audio, Speaker/Microphone: Integrated audio, built-in speaker and microphone, Dimensions: with handle 241 x 215 x (26.0 ~ 39.3) mm, Weight: 1.25-1.45 Kg, System I/O: 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 SD slot, VGA port, Camera (optional): 1.3 MP (rotated), Drop test: 50 cm

This is a quality netbook that is great for college students at $500 and looks to outperform typical laptops at the higher price range. The Intel Classmate PC is a large step in the right direction for the development of mobility and connectivity in developing nations and hopefully it will grow in popularity so students around the world can leverage its capabilities to become more connected and more competitive in this global market.

Here is a video review of the Intel Classmate PC Tablet for anyone who wants to get a visual representation of the greatness of this netbook.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cyber-Punk Fashions

I wanted to hit on a lighter subject, FASHION. I myself am not so concerned with the matter except on rare instances when I find something so great I just have to share it with all that I can. First off, I have a passion for Anime, the classic Anime not the pop stuff, so this often guides how I see fashionable wears.

A few days ago, I was surfing the net and I found this jacket, the Pill Jacket worn by Shotaro Kaneda in the infamous Anime blockbuster AKIRA (アキラ).

At first I did not like it, but the more I looked at it the more it grew on me and not only is it an amazing replica of the pill jacket from the Anime, but it looks great. The price is a little steep at $500, but I found another website that had it for $200. Honestly I think it is worth the price the jacket is just immaculate. There is another website where the jacket is not for cheap, but it has a variety of movie and anime based fashions that are alright with one exception, the bride jacket from Kill Bill it is exceptional and would most definitely be an eye catcher on the street.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Alternative Investing Solutions for a Declining Economy and the Receding Hope for the Future

While many of the world is in a frightened state as to what the future holds and where to invest their money I see this as an opportunity instead of a threat. That opportunity being to throw those aside who greedily risked honest peoples' monies for their own selfish gain. I see the developing world as the new frontier in investing, it is a place where the culture and the technological factors beg new investment programs. Programs which leverage the Internet and enable businesses to grow from the ground up.

Just think of it like this, if 2 percent of the world owns half the wealth in the world and financial intermediaries seek only to make those 2 percent richer, the scale is then imbalanced and it hurts everyone in the long run. On the other hand, if say the other 98 percent of the world finds a means to grow itself out of poverty, then positive growth has no where to go, but trickling upwards.

It seems a sweet irony that only in the past couple of decades it has become the most feasible to take this course. For example, an organization called Grameen Bank, started by Muhammad Yunus, participates in micro-loans for the impoverished masses in Bangladesh for the purpose of eradicating poverty. This organization also fosters growth in the Bangladesh economy from the ground up, and has had more success than financial firms in America in the past year or so. In the thirty-one years of operations, Grameen Bank dealt with 7.2 million borrowers, 97 percent women, and the borrowers essentially own the bank. Also Grameen Bank has dispersed loans totaling $7.59 billion and $6.76 billion has been repaid over its history. That is approximately 90% fulfillment of debt obligations, where as according to the 2008 credit card survey the average default rate in a basket of 22 issuers and 38 credit cards was 26.87%.

That is 2.5 times as much as the default rate for the borrowers from the Grameen Bank who are poor and cannot get loans from traditional banks because they are not “creditworthy” in the eyes of the financial world. The numbers do not lie, just in financing the poor there is a higher success than financing the rich, who strive to only get richer. Social innovation and enterprise does pay off, a person can do well by doing good, and by investing in the developing world like it seems the investing masses should, there can be mutually beneficial impacts.

Driving the focus on to ways an average person can invest in positive social change while earning a decent return for their troubles, I present MyC4. It is a company similar to a hybrid between Grameen Bank and Ebay. Basically it provides the service of getting capital for SME (small to medium enterprises) in the African continent through a bidding process. The investors get to bid through a highly transparent bidding process via the web. They pick the desired return rate that is capped at about 25 percent and the entrepreneur pays the weight average of the lowest bids, with MyC4 taking a small portion of the return (about 3 percent). This program allows for the borrower to get the financing they need for their business, while allowing the investor to make a positive return, and the default rate for MyC4 is only 2 percent which is amazing. In only its first six months of existence it has gained 6.5 million euros in investment for 3,700 African businesses from approximately 12,800 investors in 83 countries.

This program is a social enterprise that enables good returns and is helping the cause for growing the developing markets in the world while insuring strong returns. I perceive this as a much more viable source of investments for worried investors throughout the world especially in the USA. It is a safe bet that there will be more programs like this in the future and people will learn the sensibility in social investing and enterprise.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Intro into the Accultured

This is a portal through which I can acculture others through my own experiences and findings.

Acculturation: acculturation

Pronunciation [uh-kuhl-chuh-rey-shuhn]


1. the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group.

2. the result of this process.


1875–80, Americanism; ac- + culture + -ation Unabridged

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

In this beginning it is best to start with a background of the mind which is putting these ideas to the net. Quick synopsis of this accultured mind with a little word play:

Young - New to this world and still learning something new everyday.
Old - learn from the past, those of the elders, those of the ancients, so to better the future.
Broad - a narrow mind is a narrow sight and walking down a rugged path with narrow vision is dangerous.
Optomistic - life is too boring be negative hope is what makes the world go around.
Antithetic - being contrary helps to see the weaknesses in order to make it stronger.
Unabridged - given all it has needed from birth to grow as needed and do as required.
Living - that which ceases to grow dies and the same goes with the mind.

I hope to grow as an individual and grow this portal at the same time. The world is going through an interesting era now and it is important to learn oneself in the new cultures of this global entity that is forming from the many corners of the planet.

Acculturation is not just a way of learning a new culture, but a way of evolving in this present human condition. If humans are created in God's image then by nature we revel in creation and knowing all that exists in the world. In this instance by learning the world we humans learn ourselves and become a little closer to the heavens and life infinite.